The Hauser Report: PBC on Fox – PBC’s first telecast on Fox’s big broadcast network began in entertaining fashion on Saturday night when Dominic Breazeale took on Amir Mansour in the opening bout.
The 30-year-old Breazeale (now 17-0 with 15 KOs) represented the United States in the super-heavyweight division at the 2012 London Olympics. He was a project then and he’s a project now.
Forty-three-year-old Amir Mansour (22-2-1, 16 KOs) spent eight-and-a-half years in prison at the start of the new millennium after being convicted of cocaine trafficking and received an additional fourteen-month sentence in December 2011 for violating the terms of his probation.
Each man was looking for victory in the hope that it would give him a semblance of credibility in the heavyweight sweepstakes.
Breazeale (an amiable man who outweighed Mansour by 35 pounds) fights like someone who’s learning to box by the numbers. He looked soft around the middle and in a few other places as well.
Mansour, who seems less amiable, sought to overwhelm Breazeale with swarming aggression. Dominic didn’t have the technique to keep him off and was decked by a solid right hand in round three. That left Breazeale simply trying to survive.
Mansour, arguably, won every round of an entertaining fight. But by the fifth stanza, he had the look of a fighter who had punched himself out. He quit before the start of round six, saying that he couldn’t close his mouth. Post-fight tests revealed that, fortunately, his jaw was not broken.
Mansour might be a bit softer than he looks. And Breazeale might be a bit tougher.
In the second televised fight of the night, Sammy Vasquez dominated Aron Martinez, who chose to stay on his stool at the close of round six.
In the main event, Danny Garcia pounded out a workmanlike unanimous decision over Robert Guerrero.
PBC now has time buys on ESPN, NBC, NBC SportsNet, CBS, Spike, Bounce, Fox, and FoxSports1. Given the fact that the fight cards are often fungible, PBC’s different announcing teams are a significant factor in network branding.
The always reliable Brian Kenny opened the Fox telecast from the host’s seat and returned from time to time.
Charissa Thompson did spot reporting in a manner that suggests she’s better suited for her role as a co-host of Fox Sports Live.
In a pre-fight interview at the top of the telecast, Thompson listened acquiescently as Breazeale demonstrated his own grasp of the contemporary boxing scene: “There’s only one heavyweight champ, and it’s going to be me.”
Actually, at the moment, there are three “heavyweight champs” (Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, and Charles Martin). More if one counts “regular” beltholders like Ruslan Chagaev.
Gus Johnson, who handled blow-by-blow chores, advised viewers that Breazeale (a former quarterback at the University of Northern Colorado) once threw a football 72 yards.
Johnson tends to be a cheerleader and uses superlatives like “great” and “terrific” so frequently that they lose their meaning. He’s prone to hyperbole: “Sean Porter is coming off a HUGE upset of Adrien Broner . . . We all LOVE Floyd Mayweather . . . Danny Garcia throws that Puerto Rican left hook.”
Keith Thurman was the telecast’s boxing expert. When Thurman dials back the hype, he’s thoughtful and intelligent. “Power is the easiest way to earn respect,” he noted. Thurman was also candid and right-on when he said of Martinez in round five, “He’s not looking to fight.”
Mark Kriegel was in the analyst’s chair (thought of by some as “the Larry Merchant seat”). His comments were on point all night.
When Johnson suggested that the heavyweight division is wide open, Kriegel noted, “It is wide open. You’ve got a 43-year-old and an ex-football-player.”
Later, referencing the role that Angel Garcia and Ruben Guerrero play in training their sons, Kriegel observed, “If you think Little League fathers are bad, this is the ultimate expression of male vanity.”
Time and again, when Johnson verged on going overboard, Kriegel brought him back to solid ground. Late in Garcia-Guerrero, with the dialogue focusing on which fighter wanted it more, Mark said simply, “I don’t think it’s a question of desire. I think it’s a question of talent.”
Kreigel has talent.
Thomas Hauser can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His most recent book – A Hurting Sport: An Inside Look at Another Year in Boxing – was published by the University of Arkansas Press.
Check out this video with Ray Flores talking about this fight at The Boxing Channel